Best of Bess: The Yet-To-Be Finished Memoir Of Wilbur P. Falcone
Remembering the introduction of a porcine Dealbreaker icon... not Steve Cohen.
Remembering the introduction of a porcine Dealbreaker icon... not Steve Cohen.
Remember Phil Falcone? Hedge fund manager about yea high? Cuts his hair like he's still playing professional hockey? Is betting the farm on a company called LightSquared that "seeks to create connectivity for all" but in doing so might "cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation" and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May? Anyway, LightSquared's creditors were in court today asking for the right to go after Big Phil/Harbinger, who they believe screwed them big time.
It's no secret that one of our favorite hedge fund wives is Lisa Maria Falcone. Whether she's imploring bitches to throw their hands in air, hiring little people for her twin daughters' birthday party, spooning her pet pig, or simply flitting about town in outfits that go from gladiator chic to deconstructed "Like A Virgin," the woman is her own special brand of fabulous. LMF started keeping a considerably lower profile once her husband Phil's hedge fund hit a streak of bad luck though we always knew she'd be back. Unfortunately, we'd hoped the woman who does what she wants, haters of the Upper East Side be damned, would return with the news her production company was putting the finishing touches on Wilbur Falcone's debut album and not this: ...at 2:25 p.m., 48-year-old Lisa Marie Falcone of Manhattan crashed her vehicle at the corner of Montauk Highway and Hayground Road in Bridgehampton, police said. She was found to be to be under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication, police said. Falcone...was charged with driving while intoxicated. Listen, lady: Throwing back a few cocktails when your closet is having two-for-one happy hour is one thing but getting loaded up on booze and pills and going for a drive is quite another. You could have hurt someone or yourself and then Phil would've had to raise Wilbur on his own. Is that what you want? 2 Charged With DWI Crashes in Hamptons [Long Island Press, mugshot via BI]
To put it lightly, the last couple years have been a rather dark time for Phil Falcone. Though his woes are too numerous to mention in full, they include: the adversity he's faced in getting people to believe in LightSquared; his unbelievably pissy investors, who still aren't over the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated fund to pay personal taxes, or offered to pay out redemptions in illiquid LightSquared equity; the Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants him banned from the industry for life; the woman who once offered a respite from it all, who now won't even come out of her room when she knows he's home; and, of course, the plunging returns in his once highly profitable hedge fund. It would be enough to make a grown man say 'Fuck, it. I'm done.' Put a few things in a sack, tie it to the blade of a hockey stick, and hitchhike back to Minnesota. But Phil didn't do that and now? After a merciless storm of shit that felt like it would never ease up? After long days of investors and regulators breathing down his neck and nights of having to pound on the front door because he was accidentally purposely locked out of the house? The tide feels like it's turning for Philip Falcone. Beleaguered hedge fund honcho Phil Falcone’s big bet on his own publicly traded entity, Harbinger Group, is helping to lift his troubled hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Management, out of the deep end. Falcone’s flagship fund posted returns of 10.6 percent in July and a whopping 28 percent gain in June. Of course, he's still down 5.8 percent year-to-date, and the the director of the SEC's division of enforcement wants hedge fund graduate schools to use Harbinger as a case study during the unit on "how to operate a hedge fund unlawfully," but tonight? Tonight he tells Lisa to treat herself to something nice. Tonight he tells Wilbur to pull the baby grand out of the closet, where it's sat untouched for months. Tonight his key works in the lock. Tonight we dance. Phil Helps Himself [NYP]
Harbinger Global Corp is coming to an exchange near you. Phil Falcone, the embattled billionaire hedge fund manager, has put together an unorthodox IPO that will see his hedge fund firm contribute assets valued at $350 million to a blank check company that will trade publicly. In the deal, a special purpose acquisition company that is expected to trade on Nasdaq and be known as Harbinger Global Corp., will acquire a majority interest in an MGM-branded hotel and casino development in Vietnam and a minority interest in an iron ore producer working in Brazil. Funds run by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management that are contributing the assets will get an ownership stake that could be as high as 96% in Harbinger Global and Falcone is slated to become executive chairman of the company. Falcone’s move to become closely involved in a publicly-traded company is audacious given that he is currently facing securities fraud charges from the Securities & Exchange Commission. Yeah, well, people also thought it was audacious for him to invite a burlesque dancing pig he barely knew to come and live with him and she turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, so.
Remember the time Harbinger Capital Partners founder Phil Falcone was a little short on cash, and decided to "borrow" $113 million from a fund in which redemptions had been suspended in order to pay personal taxes? Unfortunately for Big P, the SEC does. (The regulator also recalls he time he allegedly played favorites with Goldman and allegedly manipulated some markets.) Philip Falcone, the billionaire founder of Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, faces a lawsuit from U.S. regulators as soon as this week over claims he improperly borrowed client funds to pay his taxes and gave preferential treatment to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter. Falcone, 49, may also face a market manipulation claim related to trading in bonds of MAAX Holdings Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to authorize enforcement staff to file the case, the people said. While perhaps not the best news Falcone has received in a while, it likely does not come as a surprise, as the SEC has been talking about the aforementioned offenses since last December (when they tried to get him banned from the securities industry). Either way, Phil, who should probably just not going home tonight unless he wants an earful, is planning to "contest to the suit." SEC Said To Authorize Lawsuit Against Harbinger’s Falcone [Bloomberg]
From outward appearances, the past couple years have been a stressful time for Phil Falcone. After making billions of dollars for himself and for his investors on subprime, the Harbinger Capital Partners founder provoked the ire of many a client by tying up a good chunk of their money in a wireless start-up called LightSquared (a company the Federal Communications Commission is no fan of, due to the fact that it reportedly interferes with GPS devices used on land, sea, and in outer space), by borrowing $113 million from a gated fund in order to pay personal taxes, and by only allowing certain investors (Goldman Sachs) to get out while freezing redemptions for others and then telling them they could leave if they found some else to pick up their stake. Assets under management at Harbinger have dropped $23 billion, from a peak of $26 billion. For a variety of reasons, the Securities and Exchange commission wants to see him banned from the industry. A worried Bloomberg News reporter recently revealed he has a problem with pit stains ("[his] shirt appeared darker under the arms in his office last month"), which wouldn't pose an issue were his shirt supply not dwindling rapidly ("One place Falcone is visiting less frequently is Domenico Vacca, the New York boutique where suits retail for $3,900 and shirts $490, according to a person with knowledge of his purchases. He orders every four or five months [now] compared with every two or three months between 2006 and 2009"). For all these reasons and more (like, say, a sensitive and highly-strung pig who is not happy), some people might assume that Falcone would at best be in deep contemplative mode regarding how things got this far at worst be freaking the fuck out, particularly over the possibilities that 1) the SEC is going to file civil fraud charges and 2) if LightSquared doesn't pan out, he's going to lose a whole lot of money. Those people, however, would be wrong. Not only is he not at all worried that his passion project won't work out ( “I am not losing sleep on this -- why would I lose sleep?” he asked Bloomberg), but he dares anyone to come up with a reason for why he's not going to make $20+ billion on this thing. “This is not for the faint of heart,” Falcone said. “I’ve never looked at it as having $4 billion or $25 billion as defining Philip Falcone. But who’s to say I won’t get back to $25 billion?” What? It could happened. You don't know. Falcone Waits for Icahn Doubling Down on Network [Bloomberg]
Back in March, a woman named Anna Gristina was arrested for allegedly running a whorehouse out of an East 78th Street apartment, with plans to go global. In that time, we've learned a good bit about Gristina (who goes by Anna Scotland professionally), who currently remains incarcerated on Riker's Island. For instance, at the time of her arrest, she was meeting with a friend and broker who was supposedly helping her line up financing to expand the venture (which she maintains was an upscale dating site), she paid her hookers well, and she was an animal lover. Emphasis on the past tense because apparently anyone can be an animal lover until push comes to shove and mommy needs money for legal fees. Then it's good-bye lush accommodations upstate, hello slaughterhouse. An accused Upper East Side brothel boss is so hard up for cash that she’s had to evict most of the pigs she keeps in her upstate home to save money while she remains locked up in jail on $2 million bond. The family of accused madam Anna Gristina, who’s got a soft spot for porkers, has sent away all but two of the seven rescue pigs she keeps in order to save the hundreds of dollars per month she spends in upkeep for them at her Orange County farm, her husband said yesterday. “My son was really upset,” Gristina’s hubby Kelvin Gorr said of the decision to relocate those hogs to two other farms. “He was crying,” Gorr said of the boy, 9-year-old Nicholas. “Anna, too, was upset,” the real-estate agent Gorr said. “But there’s nothing we can do.” But Gorr assured, “They’re not going to be eaten.”blockquote> Oh really? That's interesting because most people wouldn't make a claim like "they're not going to be eaten" without explaining what WILL happen to them instead, unless you are prevaricating in flagrante. So. Apparently it falls to us. If anyone has an interest in taking in one of these pigs, speak up now. Lest the idea cross your mind that a certain hedge fund manager will be opening his doors, let me stop you right there-- there's no room at that inn.
Wilbur glanced down at her watch. 12:13. Usually, she hated when people were late and, under normal circumstances, this would have gone beyond the point of what she'd tolerate. Hell, make her wait more than 5 or 6 minutes and you were ensuring you'd be receiving a series of irate texts inquiring sharply as to "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU??????!!???" and threatening "If you're not here in 30 seconds I'm leaving." But today she was practically willing Tom to continue making her wait under the bodega awning. Just another minute. Just one more minute.